Friday, October 29, 2010

Marijuana Legalization Stocks

On Tuesday, November 2, California residents will be voting on Proposition 19, the ballot measure that, if passed, would legalize limited quantities of marijuana for recreational use. This has created plenty of fodder for news reports. The New York Times just reported on the marijuana related domain name land grab. UPI reported that a marijuana dispensary in San Francisco would give away free joints whenever the Giants hit a home run during the World Series. And to top it off, The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial by billionaire investor George Soros, in which he says he supports the legalization of marijuana.

Unfortunately, most of the plays on legalization involve very low cap stocks, according to the list of 20 marijuana stocks at However, for the medical use of marijuana and its derivatives, there are larger companies that produce such products as Marinol, a trademark of Solvay SA (SVYSF.PK) and Nabilone, marketed as Cesamet by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, is used to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, anorexia, and weight loss in AIDS patients.

Valeant also markets Fluorouracil, a cancer treatment drug, and Diastat, a seizure drug. This $4.38 billion market cap stock trades at 30 times earnings, and pays a yield of 1.4%. Earnings for the latest reported quarter were up 41% year over year on a 23% increase in revenues. The company will have its next earnings announcement on November 4.

Par Pharmaceutical Companies (PRX), a $1.14 billion market cap company markets Dronabinol, a form of Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. However, this is a small part of the business as the company markets dozens of other drugs. The stock has a PE ratio of 13.9 and trades at one times sales. Earnings will be reported November 3.

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPRF.PK) produces Sativex, an oral spray with tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis patients, and also for treating pain in cancer patients. Earnings for the quarter ending March 31 were negative. The company will be reporting earnings on November 23.

To see the complete free list of twenty marijuana stocks, which shows the symbol, PE ratio, price sales ratio, yield, market capitalization, and business description, go to

Disclosure: Author didn't own any of the above stocks at the time the article was written.


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